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Fine Bordeaux in Roald Dahl auction

A case of 1982 Leoville Las Cases and a 175-year-old bottle of Massandra are up for auction at Christie’s as part of a sale of Roald Dahl’s private photographs and other Dahl ‘treasures’.

Dahl’s widow Felicity (‘Liccy’) Dahl selected the wine from the master storyteller’s cellars. She is as keen a collector as her late husband and has managed the cellar since his death in 1990.

The Leoville Las Cases usually sells at auction for around £1900 per case, but Christie’s is not issuing a high and low estimate.

Dahl (pictured) ‘bought an enormous amount of 1983s and 1982s,’ Mrs Dahl told decanter.com. He was most interested in Bordeaux and left a wealth of first growths, including two cases of 1982 Lafite, Pichon Lalande, Cos d’Estournel, Chateau Bel-Air, Lafleur and other fine wines.

There is also a good collection of Burgundy, which Mrs Dahl is adding to by ‘doing swaps with the 82 Bordeaux’, she said.

The Massandra, from 1830, was a gift from Eric Abraham, who produced the 1989 film of Danny the Champion of the World.

‘He asked Roald for the rights to James and the Giant Peach,’ Mrs Dahl said, referring to one of Dahl’s – and the world’s – most famous children’s books. ‘He refused, saying it was impossible to film, but then gave him the rights for nothing for a year.’

The main part of the auction consists of photographs taken by Dahl, and a ‘Treasure Trove’ of Dahliana including original audio recordings by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, and rare artwork by Quentin Blake and Gerald Scarfe – including the latter’s cartoon of Tony Blair as a poodle.

There is also a giant (2.5m) Anglepoise lamp, made by Anglepoise for the 1989 film of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant).

Hugh Edmeades, chairman of Christie’s South Kensington, said although best known as a writer, ‘Roald Dahl was also a talented photographer. Many of the photographs offered in this auction have never been seen before in public and give a rare glimpse into his private world.’

The auction takes place on 13 December at Christie’s King Street, London, and is in aid of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, which opens in June 2005.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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